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NNU-engineered satellite orbiting Earth

Posted at 7:13 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 21:14:05-04

NAMPA, Idaho — Engineering students and staff at NNU likely won't get much sleep Tuesday night as they wait to see if their hard work over the last three years has paid off.

As 6 On Your Side has reported, a team of students helped engineer a specialized satellite that was launched into space July 25th on board a Falcon 9 Rocket, and on Tuesday volunteers watched live as the satellite began the next phase of its mission -- entering its own orbit around Earth.

"We're really looking forward to seeing some data from the satellite tomorrow morning," NNU engineering professor Joshua Griffin said.

The satellite launched from the Florida coast on July 25, and Tuesday the satellite was attached to a spacecraft used to re-supply the International Space Station. On Wednesday morning, it will be deployed into its own orbit.

"It's remarkable what NASA and these space guys can actually do, and then here we are, NNU riding along!" NNU engineering alumnus Daniel Edgar said. "So it's really cool!"

The satellite will spend about three years orbiting the planet until it eventually burns up in Earth's atmosphere, but for the next two months, NNU students will be busy collecting data from their own device in outer space.

"You know, what's the temperature on the satellite, what's the battery voltage levels, are the solar panels working, all kinds of things like that," Griffin explained. "So we're very excited to be in the final stages of getting this into orbit."

No matter the results come Wednesday morning, program leaders are marking the mission as a "win", giving students real-world experience that's out of this world.

"Whether or not the satellite works, that's really secondary," Griffin said. "It's really the educational part that's the important part."